Here’s a post at the NY Post about reading: Most Americans try to make time to read every day.
A new study of 2,000 Americans found that as many as 86 percent feel they make a conscious effort to read in some way every day.
First: Well, good.
Second: Two thousand is not very many. Which two thousand people did you survey? Urban, rural, young, old, and on and on.
Also: 26 percent of those studied feel they haven’t managed to read a full book in the past year. … Some of the main barriers to reading more were found to be scrolling through social media (49 percent), playing games on a phone (30 percent) and watching TV shows (29 percent) – all things Americans reported “wasting” their time on.
So this is self-perception that you’re wasting your time. That seems odd to me, as if you truly perceive television as a waste of time, why are you doing it? If it’s something you enjoy, is that actually a waste? More than reading a novel?
I mean, I basically don’t watch TV, but I know I’m missing out on some good stuff. I just enjoy reading more than watching TV. That doesn’t mean I don’t realize I’m missing out. I wouldn’t say someone is wasting their time watching TV unless they just sit there gazing at the screen for hours even though they don’t enjoy it.
I think this caught my attention because I know multiple authors who spend quite a bit of time playing video games, and that strikes me as similar: it could be a waste of time, but is that a fair characterization if you enjoy it? Even if it doesn’t lead to you writing, say, The Starfighter Invitation?
The most popular books mentioned include:
- “In Death” by J.D. Robb
- “Jack Reacher” by Lee Child
- “Robert Langdon” by Dan Brown
So that doesn’t seem to me to count as the kind of novel that most people would consider to be “worthy” of a lot of time. Is anything by Dan Brown more “worth” an investment of time than The Good Place or one of the other excellent current TV shows?
I will add that right there with the other activities that are perceived as a waste of time: sitting in traffic. This is surely not a comparable activity? NO ONE ever sits in traffic voluntarily. No one in the history of the world has ever said, “I could read JD Robb’s new book, but you know what, I’ll just go out and sit in traffic instead.” What a strange thing to include.